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Mid-Year 2020-21 Adult Social Care Activity [MI]

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Supporting Information

Supporting Information


In September 2020 key stakeholders of Adult Social Care Statistics, including Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC), Association of the Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), Local Government Association (LGA) and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) endorsed a one-off data collection of adult social care activity in order to provide some insight at local and national level into the potential impact on levels of activity due to the focus of local authorities being prioritised towards dealing with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Normally Official Statistics around adult social care activity are only released on an annual financial year basis, so it was felt that if users of the data were to wait until after the end of 2020-21 this would be far too late to offer any timely insights and furthermore the impact of the initial pandemic period would be unable to be disaggregated.

The data collection was designed to capture a subset of those data items collected on an annual basis, based on user requirements and on known strengths and limitations. The subset was drawn from the following existing collections:

Short and Long Terms Support (SALT): a subset of existing SALT tables capturing key measures including snapshot positions at quarter end.

Safeguarding Adults (SAC): a subset of existing SAC tables capturing number of safeguarding concerns, number of Section 42 and Other Enquiries and number of concluded Section 42 Enquiries split by type of safeguarding risk and location of risk.

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS): number of DoLS applications and completions in the period.

Note: a decision was made not to include any data relating to local authority expenditure on adult social care in this period because the standard annual data collection covering this (Adult Social Care Finance Return (ASC-FR)) is specified on a ‘closure of accounts’ basis at year end and so adapting this for any other point in the year is problematic.  However, expenditure information is available from other sources such as the ADASS Budget Survey and MHCLG Quarterly Revenue Outturn Statistics.

Data was requested covering the six month period 01 April 2020 to 30 September 2020. The data is captured at aggregate level, per local authority, and in general covers the whole of the period so it is not possible to break it down further by month. Exceptions to this are SALT tables T33, T37, T38, T39, T41, T42 as these capture the total number of clients receiving social care support on an exact date (30 June 2020 and 30 September 2020)

Data was submitted to NHS Digital by local authorities during the period 19 October to 10 November 2020. 

This was a voluntary data collection and local authorities were under no obligation to respond. Nonetheless, the majority did so and the response rate of local authorities that provided data was 81% (123 local authorities out of 151). We would like to thank these local authorities sincerely for this. This can be broken down by the different parts of the collection as follows:

SALT tables:      113 local authorities (75%)

SAC tables:        117 local authorities (77%)

DoLS tables:      122 local authorities (81%)  

Of the local authorities that did not respond the main reason given, where one was expressed, was that other demands have taken priority or there was a shortage of available staff.

Data Quality Key Information

There are a number of important caveats to consider when using this data

  • The data was provided on a voluntary basis, so the national and regional totals do not represent full coverage within each area. Where local authorities have provided data this can vary across the different data items collected, and we have provided a summary in Excel (see Resources) of which local authorities have responded to which tables.
  • The level of quality assurance is not as high as the normal annual adult social care data collections and publications. This is the case both for the data providers (local authorities) and NHS Digital for the following reasons:
    • Local authorities were given a far shorter window to gather and submit the data than would normally be the case.
    • This collection was outside the annual financial year cycle when a lot of work goes on in local authorities to clean and reconcile the data held on the underlying systems.
    • NHS Digital did not produce a standardised data quality report for each local authority during the data submission period, nor review submissions to provide bespoke feedback. These are routinely done for the annual data collections in order that a revised submission can be made with improved data quality.
    • For established collections and publications NHS Digital has automated processes set up to collate, validate and produce the statistics. Because this collection was set up at short notice and is a one-off, these processes are not in place for this collection, and the production of the published data is more heavily reliant on manual intervention and data manipulation. This brings a higher risk of error, although we have mitigated this by carrying out extensive checks.
  • There are some limitations when comparing the data to previous years. These can be summarised as:       
    • In general previous years’ data is collected in an aggregated way across the whole financial year. Therefore we cannot isolate the equivalent 01 April-30 Sept period for these years. Instead, for the comparison tables we have included with this release, we’ve simply divided the annual total by two to get an estimate for the half-year period.
      • Note: this caveat does not apply to the DoLS tables, because here the annual data is collected at record level and therefore we can identify the equivalent period precisely.
      • This caveat is also not relevant for those SALT data items that are captured as a snapshot at the end of a particular period (namely 31 March, 30 June and 30 September), or those data tables capturing long term support, where a more direct comparison can be made.
    • These comparisons are for indicative purposes only as we recognise that seasonality may impact different aspects of social care in different ways.
    • Normally the SALT data collection does not include clients funded by the NHS; however during the pandemic interim funding arrangements have been introduced for people discharged from hospital into adult social care services such as care homes. These clients should be included in the mid-year data collection, and in the 2019-20 SALT data where applicable.
    • The SAC table capturing type of abuse and location of abuse was only introduced in the annual 2019-20 data collection, and therefore comparisons to 2018-19 cannot be made.
  • Local authorities themselves advised us of a number of common factors that have impacted on data quality. These can be summarised as:
    • With a shorter preparation and collection window than the annual collections many local authorities were not able to implement as thorough data quality checks and warned us that the data was provisional and subject to change.
    • The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has understandably also had a big impact, it was reported to us that:
      • Council Services were used to assist hospital discharge in an atypical way .
      • Process changes as part of the COVID-19 response, such as manual processes, mean figures at this mid year stage may be subject to change until more thorough checks can be done.
      • In some areas, it was reported that less work could be completed due to other pressures on the authority, or different working arrangements for staff.
      • In the SALT part of the collection, there was some inconsistency to how local authorities recorded clients with COVID-19 funding. Some included them, whilst others did not.
    • Some local authorities were in the process of implementing a new system that may have had an impact on the figures.

How can the data be used?

Do use this data:

to give early insight of levels of local authority adult social care activity levels in 2020-21 to give an indicative impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) period on adult social care activity levels. to increase understanding of the local, regional and national picture.

Do not use this data

to infer good or bad performance to make judgements about appropriateness or effectiveness of practice without understanding the caveats around its collection

Please contact NHS Digital FAO Adult Social Care Statistics Team if you have any questions on this data.

Last edited: 21 June 2021 5:01 pm

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